Hudson was born in Wilkes County, Georgia. He worked as a sharecropper in what was then known as the "Black Belt" of Georgia. Then he moved to Birmingham and worked as a steel-mill worker and a local union official while maintaining an active membership in the Communist Party, which he joined after studying in New York City in the 1930s. Through his work, Hudson was often referred to as a militant fighter against racist oppression and economic exploitation. He is said to have been surprised at the acceptance of the Jim Crow Laws, but felt that was not enough.
Hudson actively participated in the struggle to enfranchise the African-American minority in the Deep South. In 1938, he organized the Right to Vote Club, which helped literate African Americans to register to vote despite the systematic intimidation of potential black voters in the segregated southern states. (Hudson himself had learned to read at the Communist Party's National Training School.)
During the Red Scares of the post-World War II period, Hudson was expelled from the Birmingham Industrial Union Council. In 1947, he was fired from his job, removed from his offices in Local 2815 (which he had founded), and blacklisted as a communist. His 30-year marriage to Lucy Goosby ended in 1946.
Hudson told his own story in his book Black Worker in the Deep South: A Personal Record (1972). It has been published in various editions, usually by small, progressive publishers.
In 1987, the historian Nell Irvin Painter co-authored a book about Hosea Hudson's life, often described as a collaborative autobiography. His story is also featured in a collection of stories about the Civil Rights Movement, as well as one on the Communist Movement in the United States.
- Black Worker in the Deep South: A Personal Record. New York: International Publishers, 1972.
As co-author (with Nell Irvin Painter):
- The Narrative of Hosea Hudson: The Life and Times of a Black Radical. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994.
- Barbara Jean Hope (1995-02). "The Story of Hosea Hudson: Lessons of a 'Black Worked in the Deep South' Still Loom Large". People's Weekly World. Retrieved 2008-02-11. Check date values in:
- "Paperbacks: New and Noteworthy". The New York Times. 1981-04-05. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- Bryn Lloyd-Bollard (2005-07-30). "Remembering Hosea Hudson". People's Weekly World. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- Lindemann, Kevin. (2009-2-23). "African American Communist: Hosea Hudson (1898-1988)". Black History Month Special. Working-Class & Party History. CPUSA Online. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- Hudson, Hosea; Nell Irvin Painter (1994). The Narrative of Hosea Hudson: The Life and Times of a Black Radical. W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-31015-9.
- Appiah, Anthony; Henry Louis Gates (2005). Africana: An A-To-Z Reference of the Movement That Changed America. Running Press. 076241958X.
- Fried, Albert (1997). Communism in America: A History in Documents. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10235-6.
- "The Story of Hosea Hudson: Lessons of a ‘Black worker in the deep South’ still loom large". An article by Barbara Jean Hope for Black History Month, 1995 (People's Weekly World).